MPs to Putrajaya: Stop TPPA talks until US spy scandal cleared

Charles Santiago said the government’s response in sending protest notes to the United States’ and Australian foreign missions was 'kid’s gloves' treatment that made Malaysia look 'very weak'.
Charles Santiago said the government’s response in sending protest notes to the United States’ and Australian foreign missions was 'kid’s gloves' treatment that made Malaysia look 'very weak'.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Opposition MPs today demanded that Malaysia stop its Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) talks with the United States until the superpower comes clean on its snooping activities here.

DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago said the government’s response in sending protest notes to the United States’ and Australian foreign missions was “kid’s gloves” treatment that made Malaysia look “very weak”.

“What we find is that the Foreign Ministry issued protest notes to Australia and the United States, and Najib said he is waiting for a United States’ review of what has happened in Malaysia,” he said at a press conference in the Parliament lobby, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“This is totally irresponsible due to the fact that this is a violation of Malaysia’s sovereignty... we ask that Malaysia halt negotiations on the TPPA as an effective response against the US spying scandail in Malaysia.

“Negotiations can only resume once the US and Australia have come clean on what exactly they have been spying on in Malaysia, and also who they spied on,” he said.

Last week, Malaysia’s foreign ministry issued an official protest over the espionage claims against the US and Australia after news broke that both countries had used their diplomatic missions to spy on Malaysia.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said in a statement that he had met with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Perth to convey Malaysia’s position that spying on “close friends” is not done as it could “severely damage” relations.

The ministry’s Deputy Secretary-General Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim also handed protest notes to Australian High Commissioner Miles Kupa and US Deputy Chief of Mission, Lee McClenny, representing the US ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Y. Yun, who was out of town.

Yun reportedly said recently that surveillance activities carried out by the US worldwide were to identify potential leads on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Australian daily Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported last Thursday that Australia’s electronic intelligence agency was using its diplomatic missions to spy on its Asian neighbours, from their High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby and their embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili.

Citing new information disclosed by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer, the Australian newspaper also reported that clandestine surveillance facilities at embassies were carried out without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats.

SMH’s revelations come as Washington DC was left red-faced by global news reports it had been eavesdropping on allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Charles today said that Malaysia should go the way of the European Union (EU), which is close to suspending negotiations on the Trans Atlantic Tade and Investment Partnership with they US, along with the terrorist finance tracking programme which is a joint-effort between the EU and the US.

“The European parliament also v oted to freeze American access to its banking network. This clearly shows their stand on encroachment and violation of their privacy.

“But Malaysia is just smiling away giving a protest note, and waiting for US President Barack Obama to review the incident, which will only happen next year if it ever happens... if the EU can do it, why can’t Malaysia?” Charles said.

PKR’s Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tsin said both Najib and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman must hold the US accountable for the snooping scandal by demanding that the US Ambassador to Malaysia personally explain the situation to the government.

“This week we ask that the government call the ambassador to get answers, and we expect the foreign minister to answer us in Parliament next week.

“This cannot be just a slap on the wrist. This is encroachment on Malaysia’s sovereignty and we cannot allow any foreign country to undermine our sovereignty.

“If we are to have a trade agreement, it is about trust. Now that the spying is known, it affects that trust. We cannot allow a foreign goverment to tap our citizens and our prime minister... despite our disagreements with the PM, he is still our PM,” he said.

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